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How to Intervene in Teen Self-Injury

Understanding self-injurious behavior involves accepting that it may exist outside your realm of understanding. Self-injurious behavior may seem mysterious for someone who feels no relief when experiencing pain. While this behavior is harmful, it is more common among teens than many people imagine. Teen self-injury is a common way that adolescents show their emotional distress. If you are concerned that a teen you care about is exhibiting signs of self-injurious behavior, a well-planned intervention and subsequent treatment are invaluable. Self-injurious behavior in any form is a cry for help. The Center for Disease Control shares data revealing that teen self-injurious behavior should not be ignored. Data reveals that 18 percent of teens have participated in this type of behavior. If you believe that your teen is participating in self-injury, contact Destinations for Teens at 877.466.0620.

Signs of Self-Injurious Behavior

Teens who participate in self-harm may be adept at hiding the symptoms. However, a few warning signs include:

  • Making statements that show a feeling of worthlessness, hopelessness, or even helplessness
  • Difficult relationships with family and friends
  • Wearing long sleeves and pants, even during warm weather months
  • Consistent accidental injuries
  • Fresh cuts, scratches, bruises, and bite marks
  • Patterned scars
  • Keeping sharp objects nearby

Helping a teen seek treatment in the form of an outpatient or inpatient residential treatment program can open doors you may have never imagined for your teen and your family. Self-harm should not be ignored. While it may seem like a cry for attention, self-injurious behavior often indicates major psychological concerns that require therapeutic intervention.

Why Is Teen Self-Harm an Option?

Teens decide to participate in self-injury for many reasons. A few of the most common reasons include:

Inability to Cope

Teens may be experiencing difficulty managing concerns in their lives. Instead of knowing how to share their feelings with family and friends, they might resort to cutting or other forms of self-injury as a method of dealing with their pain.

Emotion Dysregulation

If a teen is not able to effectively express or even understand their emotions, they may try to numb or repress their emotions. When adolescents feel a sense of worthlessness, loneliness, anxiety, guilt, rejection, or are confused about their sexuality, it can become easy for them to be triggered and act out. Deciding to self-injure is one of the ways that teens may use in an attempt to regulate their emotions.

What Should I Do If My Child Is Inflicting Harm on Their Body?

If you believe your child may be engaging in self-harm, we recommend reaching out to a professional. While you are working on getting your child the help they need, the following strategies can provide additional support:

Have Honest, Loving Conversations

Express your concerns to your child about their behavior. Do not yell or create a conflict during the discussion. Instead, focus on finding a solution and way for them to get help.

Speak to a Medical Professional

Consult with your teen’s pediatrician, who can provide you with an evaluation and referral to a therapist or psychiatrist.

Reach Out to Family Members

Identify nonjudgmental members of your family and community who can support your family. If your teen is also expressing suicidal thoughts, do not ignore these statements. Reach out to school counselors, nurses, and mental health professionals who can provide support. If your teen is attempting suicide, call 911 immediately for help.

Learn to Manage Your Emotions at Destinations For Teens

It is natural to feel scared when you know your teen is participating in self-injurious behavior. These actions should not be ignored as they shed light on a bigger problem in your teen’s life. They may have emotional triggers that need to be acknowledged and managed. Your teen should not have to manage their emotions on their own if their past efforts have not been successful. Destinations for Teens comprehensive programs provide treatment for self-injurious behaviors. Contact 877.466.0620 today.